Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Collar Stays

Buttons, cuff links, belts, braces, and even shoe laces are all essential components to a man's clothing. One silent and invisible feature to nearly all men's shirts are the little stays that go under each collar in their respective slotted sleeves (I will use the term slot for the purposes of this bit). The slots usually angle toward the collar points, regardless of whether they are deeply pointed, spread, or cut away types. Some shirts have slots that are parallel to the collar's spread edge, and some have stays that are sewn into the collar itself. I realize that some people call them bones, tabs, stiffeners, etc., but I call them stays.

I have accumulated a rotating pile of these things from Lewin, Pink, Hilditch, Turnbull, Brooks Bros., Polo, and they are all drastically different, though the collar slots are relatively similar. I am in no way interested in keeping the stays organized by shirt any longer, so I usually just eye the pile, and estimate which will fit the collar of the shirt I have chosen. It should be noted that for the most part, I prefer to launder my own shirts (in a tumble washer) and iron them myself (professional cleaning cuts the shirt's life down to 1/10th in my experience).

I have all plastic stays. I have been given mother-of-pearl, brass, aluminum, a pair of steel stays, and I even saw titanium in a catalog. For an unseen and always disappearing item, plastic is the only thing that makes sense to me.

Still, after losing a bunch of stays, I was forced to buy a vile vial of them at Brooks Brothers, for about $14. It seemed expensive at the time for tiny plastic tabs, but I didn't want the ends of my collars to break formation when I have them flanking a tie. After I lost that entire supply, the solution came to me on a business trip.

I had lost the pair I brought with me, and was feeling a bit hopeless. I looked around the room, and next to the small coffee maker, were some cocktail straws and my room key card.

It seemed simple enough. I doubled it and put the point into the stay slot. They would have to do. I asked the front desk to send up some scissors (though I suppose nail clippers could have been used... slowly).

It worked. On the second day, I cut the room key to pieces and used it to fabricate new plastic stays. I then remembered paying $14 for a few of these, as I sat with a new pair for free.

It worked out perfectly. Now, I just keep the room key that the hotels give me, and make a few new pair each time I need them... for free.

I have no problem with the luxury models of collar stays, but they are just not for me. It's not a style issue, its practicality.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Let's keep it clean... but if you DO have to get foul, at least give it a bit of wit. Also, advertising disguised as comments will be deleted, unless it is clever.